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10 Tips for Your First Weeks in College, Part II (Tips #6-10)

As students continue adjusting to college, I hope tips 1-5 have been helpful. College is an exciting time, which I am sure you have found. In this piece, I want to share tips #6-10 for your first weeks in college. Let's get started.

6. Introduce Yourself to Someone New. Go ahead. Literally find someone, and introduce yourself. I know what you are thinking-nothing may come of this. Yet, what if something does come from the conversation. In your first weeks of school, most students likely feel just like you, alone and confused. By introducing yourself to someone new, you could meet your new best friend. Or at least someone with whom you can navigate your college experience.

7. Set 3 Goals for Your First Year. Ask yourself, what do I want to accomplish by the end of my first year at this college? Your goals can range from academic (i.e. Dean's List, All A's) to social (i.e. make 2 new friends, join a club). Other ideas for setting goals include: selecting a major, finding a part-time job, making a difference on campus, volunteering with an organization, attending all classes on-time, sticking to your study schedule, and the list goes on. As you set some goals, you are being strategic about the success you want to achieve during your first year in college.

8. Review your Student Handbook. Your student handbook is there to assist you with understanding rules for behavior and conduct while you are a student at a particular institution. Many students think the handbook only applies when you are on campus. However, some institutions hold you to this code of conduct as long as you are a student. This means that something you do in the community could lead to a student conduct violation. Be knowledgeable about your expectations for behavior and read for handbook.

9. Visit Essential Campus Offices. Take some time during your first weeks in college to visit essential offices on campus. This will assist you in knowing where to locate these offices, and you will also get to know key staff on campus which can be useful should you need assistance later during the academic year. Examples of some essential campus offices are the advising office, enrollment office, financial aid office, etc. Also, make a list of campus offices that can be helpful as you navigate your college experience (i.e career services).

10. Set a Plan to Communicate with Family & Friends. Once you start college, it can be difficult to adjust to your new schedule. I recommend setting aside time to talk with family and friends at least once a week. You might have to adjust this time occaisionally, but having a set schedule could make your first semester a bit smoother and reduce the stress of figuring out how to keep in touch with family and friends. Those who want you to succeed will understand when you are busy with homework or any other school-related obligations.

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